"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Marine Le Pen is Now Leading Among French Voters – Poll

French presidential candidate and leader of the right-wing National Front party Marine Le Pen is gaining more support, leading with 25 to 26 percent of the vote, according to the latest Ipsos Sopra Steria survey, carried out for Cevipof and Le Monde.

Francois Fillon comes in second, with 23 to 25 percent of the vote, and Emmanuel Macron – also gaining support – is third with 19 to 21 percent.

The fluctuation in the percentages depends on the eventual Socialist Party candidate, as yet unnamed. The party’s candidate could be former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, former Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg, or former Minister of Education Benoit Hamon.

Almost 16,000 people over 18 years old were interviewed for the Ipsos Sopra Steria poll, making it a major survey in the country, about 16 times the size of usual French political polls. The survey was conducted from January 10 to 15, 2017.

In mid-December, Fillon topped the list with 28 percent, while Le Pen had around 25 percent.

The poll shows a significant drop for center-right Fillon, and a significant consolidation for Le Pen as well as Macron, with the latter rising dramatically over the past few weeks.

Under the French electoral system, the two leading candidates will meet in a May 7 run-off.

Among Le Pen’s policies is support for ‘Frexit,’ or French exit from the EU. She has also stated that France should leave NATO, as the bloc exists “only to serve Washington’s objectives.”

‘Stop Operation Soros’ Movement Begins in Macedonia

It is interesting to watch as country after country begins to chip away at the foundations established by George Soros. They started out well enough helping communist countries transition to democracies, but their influence didn't stop there. Soros was a polarizing figure in the recent American elections and probably one of the reasons that establishment politics was rejected. 

While Russia has born the brunt of criticism for interfering with the American elections, which is probable but not really proven, we have no idea what role Soros had to play in the elections. We know he was a big supporter of Hillary but whether it was just financial support or if there were more clandestine things going on, we may never know.

Does Soros have a God-complex because he has so much money and he thinks he knows how the world should work and goes about trying to make it so? Who knows? We also don't know whether this 'push-back' by Macedonia and Hungary is completely legitimate or whether there is a communist-like benefactor behind it. In politics things are seldom as they seem. 

Caution: This article is from RT (Russia Today) and so some political bias can be expected. 

A new initiative, Stop Operation Soros (SOS), dedicated to countering the influence of American billionaire activist George Soros, has been launched in Macedonia.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the founders of the group called on all “free-minded citizens,” regardless of ethnicity or religion, to join them in the “fight against one-mindedness in the civil sector, which is devised and led by George Soros,” the Vecer newspaper reported. The movement says it will first focus on uncovering ‘subversive’ activities by Soros-funded NGOs.

According to Nikola Srbov, a columnist for pro-government news portal Kurir and co-founder of SOS, Soros-funded NGOs have monopolized civil society in Macedonia and used their position to suppress dissenting views.

“We've witnessed the takeover of the entire civil sector and its abuse and instrumentalization to meet the goals of one political party. That is unacceptable and goes beyond the principles of civic organizing,” Srbov said at the press conference.

“The Open Society Foundation, operating under the Soros umbrella, used its funding and personnel to support violent processes in Macedonia. It has monopolized the civil society sector, pushing outside any organization which disagrees with the Soros ideology,” he stated.

Another co-founder, Cvetin Cilimanov, editor-in-chief of the state-run MIA news agency, accused Soros’s Open Society Foundations of undermining Macedonian sovereignty by working not only with the opposition center-left SDSM party, but also with outside interests. By cooperating with foreign embassies and organizations such as USAID, Cilimanov believes Soros-backed groups have interfered in the political process of Macedonia.

“This is unacceptable and has largely contributed to a feeling in the public that the traditional relations of partnership Macedonia enjoyed with some countries are being undermined,” Cilimanov told journalists.

A third founder of the initiative and editor-in-chief of the Republika news portal, Nenad Mircevski, declared that the group would work towards the “de-Soros-ization” of Macedonia, echoing a speech made by former prime minister and leader of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE party Nikola Gruevski in December. In the speech, Gruevski accused foreign powers and Soros-backed organizations of meddling in Macedonian politics.

Opposition figures have expressed concern at the rhetoric used by Gruevski, fearing the start of a crackdown on dissent and advocacy groups.

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) was set up by Hungarian-born Soros between the mid-1980s to early 1990s with the stated aim of helping former Eastern bloc countries transition from communism. However, aside from its support for progressive causes such as drug policy reform, the OSF has also been involved in political activities and Soros publically supported the violent overthrow of the legitimately-elected government in Ukraine during the ‘Euromaidan’ revolution. This has earned him the ire of Russian authorities, which in 2015 banned Soros and his foundations as a threat to national security.

Soros and his foundations have come under scrutiny elsewhere as well. In an interview with the internet portal 888.hu in December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that 2017 would bring about “the extrusion of George Soros and the forces symbolized by him.” Orban has accused Soros of undermining European borders and values by helping facilitate the flow of refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere. During a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange also blasted the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, funded by Soros, for focusing “exclusively on negative stories about Russia and former Soviet states.”

Establishment Outraged at Rep Tulsi Gabbard for Fact-Finding Trip to Syria

US Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) © Mike Segar / Reuters

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii has stirred up the US foreign policy establishment by going on a private fact-finding mission to Syria. Gabbard has opposed the US policy of regime change in Syria and championed a bill to stop arming terrorists there.

Gabbard’s trip to Syria and Lebanon was made public on Wednesday by Foreign Policy, a magazine close to the very interventionist establishment in Washington long criticized by the Hawaii Democrat.

A veteran of the Iraq War and major in the Hawaii National Guard, Gabbard “has long been committed to peace and ending counterproductive, interventionist wars,” her spokesperson Emily Latimer said in a statement Wednesday.

Gabbard has been a vocal critic of outgoing President Barack Obama’s policy of demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad and blaming his government for the bloody war with Islamist rebels.

"As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, and as an individual committed to doing all she can to promote and work for peace, she felt it was important to meet with a number of individuals and groups including religious leaders, humanitarian workers, refugees and government and community leaders," Latimer said in a statement.

Middle East pundit Charles Lister, among others, dubbed Gabbard an “Assad apologist,” while Washington pundits wondered aloud if she met with the Syrian leader.

Latimer did not provide any details of Gabbard’s itinerary to the media, citing security concerns.

One of the stops on the trip was Aleppo, AFP reported on Thursday, citing the Syrian daily Al-Watan. According to the paper, the US delegation that included Gabbard visited the historic citadel and eastern parts of the city that were held by Islamist rebels until December 22.

The surfing congresswoman famously resigned as the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee last year and endorsed Bernie Sanders for the party presidential nomination.

In November, she accepted an invitation from President-elect Donald Trump to discuss Syria and the US efforts to fight Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, sparking speculation that he might appoint her to a Cabinet post.

“Where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement,” she said at the time. “However, I believe we can disagree, even strongly, but still come together on issues that matter to the American people and affect their daily lives.”

On December 8, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit the US government from arming and funding “Sunni militant groups working to overthrow the Assad regime, such as the Levant Front, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [Al-Nusra Front], and al Qaeda,” in the words of Foreign Policy.

Gabbard may be the only honest voice in America regarding the war in Syria. She seems to be right-on. It's easier for her to critique America's position and involvement in Syria since she represents a state that does not manufacture weapons, etc. 

This woman has the nerve and the intelligence to be a candidate for the next president although she seems to be burning some bridges behind her which would make that objective much more difficult to reach. Still, can you imagine a female, Samoan-American who practices Hinduism as the next POTUS? Almost as much fun as Donald Trump!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Teen Sharia Patrol Behind Savage Beatings in Austria

The gang, made of up six young people, is responsible for a brutal beating of a 15-year old Polish girl caught on tape as well as other attacks.

Scenes from the video of a 15-year old girl being beaten by the sharia patrol in Vienna. (Photos: Video screenshots)

A teenage “sharia patrol” responsible for a brutal beating of a Polish girl is believed to be behind a series of attacks in Vienna.

The attack against the Polish school girl, identified only as Patricia, which was taped by the gang, shocked Austria when the footage was posted and it went viral. 

The “sharia patrol” is made of up six young people, some originally from Chechnya, ranging in age from 16 to 21. They have all been identified. In the taped attack, which took place in a shopping center, Patricia faces her accusers defiantly with her hands in her pockets. She takes 22 hits to her face and head. At one point, she can be seen spitting out blood.

After the attack, Patricia was taken to the hospital and treated for a double jaw fracture.

She later told police she was falsely accused of pulling off a woman’s headscarf by the leader of the gang, a 16-year-old girl identified as Leonie. “I knew if I had fought back, I would only have been hit more. So, I just waited until it was over," Patricia said.

She was threatened by the gang not to go to the police, but while she was in the hospital, her sister did.

Leonie is also accused of kicking another girl in the face while she was being held down by two boys the day after the attack on Patricia. Prosecutors say that Leonie is responsible for a number of other attacks in lower Austria as well.

One member of the gang, identified as Ahmet K. or Abuu, later posted as picture of himself in a strongman posed with the caption “Jawbreaker.”  He also posted a comment about the attack, saying, "To all those I offended, insulted or beaten. I do not give a s***. Next year I will do it better."

Abuu was convicted of robbery last September and given six months of probation. If convicted of this crime, he could face prison time.

He should face deportation time.

In March, 2016, a man was hospitalized by another Sharia patrol in Vienna

Father is hospitalised by 'Sharia patrol' in Austria after he told
them to stop threatening his wife and daughter for not being
properly dressed as fears rise of no-go areas in Vienna

By Jennifer Newton for MailOnline

Austrians fear parts of Vienna are becoming no-go areas after a father was attacked by a 'Sharia patrol' when he told them to stop threatening his wife and daughter for not being correctly dressed.

As various factions of migrants stake claims to territory in the city, it has been reported that the self-styled Sharia patrols have been visiting clubs and bars in the Millennium City area to make sure Chechen women were properly dressed and acting appropriately.

However, when one Austrian man tried to step in to stop the patrol from hassling his Chechen wife and daughter, he ended up being hospitalised.

It came as violence escalated across Vienna at the weekend, with more than 50 young men from the Afghan and Chechen communities clashing in the city centre.

The gang had attacked each other with planks of wood, iron bars and knives. Two of those injured are in intensive care and their condition is described as critical.

Police say that the row - which involved around 40 people from Afghanistan attacking 10 from Chechnya - had centred around a social media row on Facebook.

German Court Rules Setting Synagogue on Fire Legit Protest

What goes around, comes around - antisemitism was only 'mostly dead' in Germany, but is breathing on its own again now.

The perpetrators received suspended sentences after the court ruled that the blaze was intended to draw 'attention to the Gaza conflict.'

Wuppertal Synagogue

A German regional court ruled that the setting fire to a synagogue was not an anti-Semitic act, but rather was intended to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict.”

As such, the three men convicted of the crime – identified only as Muhammad E., 31, Ismail A., 26, and Muhammad A., 20 – were given suspended sentences. The men threw a firebomb into the synagogue in Wuppertal which caused $850 of damage in the summer of 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s response to continuous rockets and missiles fired into its territory by Hamas. 

How dare those Israelis protect themselves from Hamas missiles!

In the ruling, the court noted that the men had been drinking alcohol and that no one was injured. The fire was contained when a 13-year-old boy who lived near the synagogue saw the blaze and called police. The ruling upheld a similar decision made by a lower court.

Synagogue attackers

German lawmaker MP Volker Beck, a leader of the Green Party, disagreed with the court ruling.

“This is a mistaken decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned,” he said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post. “What do Jews in Germany have to do with the Middle East conflict? Every bit as much as Christians, non-religious people or Muslims in Germany, namely, absolutely nothing. The ignorance of the judiciary toward anti-Semitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming.”

Beck is correct. One only wonders what the response of a German court would have been if a Christian who had been drinking firebombed a mosque as a way of registering a protest against Islamic State.

Ironically, the original synagogue in Wuppertal was set ablaze by the Nazis in 1938 on Kristallnacht, a night of pogroms against Jews, Jewish business and homes and synagogues throughout Germany. It is a sad day in Germany when the firebombing of a synagogue is once again a state-sanctioned political act.   

Wuppertal, Germany

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Indian Government Forcing Children's Aide NGO Out

India becoming more and more hostile to Christians
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India,
Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships

About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance
with food, education, and health care
Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra 

Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships Compassion International

“We want to be honest with you, there is very little hope.”

So wrote Compassion International to its 130,000 sponsors of Indian children this past Friday.

One week after sharing the good news of four nations no longer needing child sponsors due to the passion of millennials, the ministry shared the bad news of another nation that will probably not need child sponsors due to government interference.

A little more than a year after the Indian government told Compassion that it could no longer receive funding from outside the subcontinent, the humanitarian organization will likely be closing its last operations there.

“Since we can no longer distribute funds to our field offices, we have just had to notify our India country staff that we must formally close our field offices in India by March 15,” Compassion told sponsors by email. “Should nothing change, that means an end to our sponsorship program in India in the next 60 days.”

Compassion, which has been working in India for more than 48 years, said it has tried everything in the last 10 months to stay afloat. The email listed its efforts, which include:

Seeking the advice of legal experts in both the US and India
Leveraging influential relationships, including US representatives and senators, the former US Secretary of State, the former and current ambassadors to India and the White House Office of Faith-based Affairs, as well as members of Parliament in the United Kingdom
Asking Compassion sponsors to pray and to write Congress (more than 35,000 letters were sent)
Testifying in front of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
Leveraging personal relationships within the US and India

Compassion’s 580 Indian-staffed development centers care for more than 145,000 children. That’s only about 8 percent of the 1.9 million children assisted by Compassion worldwide, but also more than any other of the 25 countries where it works.

The Indian government objects to Compassion’s Christianity, according to the ministry’s testimony to US lawmakers. Hindu nationalists have put increasing pressure on Christians in India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. The subcontinent has been steadily moving up Open Doors’ list of places where it’s hardest to be a Christian, from No. 28 in 2014 to No. 15 this year, the highest rank it has ever held.

Hostile acts against Christians

“An average of 40 incidents were reported per month, including pastors beaten, churches burned and Christians harassed,” stated Open Doors. “Of the 64 million Christians in India, approximately 39 million experience direct persecution.”

There doesn’t appear to be a government plan to pick up Compassion’s care for Indian children. More than 1 in 3 of India’s 1.2 billion people are children, yet India spends less on health and education than comparable emerging economies.

Of India’s roughly 472 million children, 33 million are child laborers, 80 million are out of school, and 97 million are undernourished, according to a recent petition asking Modi’s administration to spend more on children.

But while the government may not have a plan in place, that doesn’t mean the children will be abandoned entirely, said Compassion spokesperson Becca Bishop.

“[The children] may have lost Compassion’s support, but they haven’t lost the support of their local church,” she said. “Those churches, if they have the funds, may still be able to carry out a lot of the services.”

World Vision, which sponsors more than 245,000 children in India (about 6 percent of its global total), also partners with local churches, though not exclusively, spokesperson Amy Parodi told CT. So far, World Vision isn’t having problems getting foreign funding into the country, she said.

CT covered Compassion’s cash crunch in December, including how the Indian government squeezed off its foreign funding. With no way to pay for materials or staff, the organization began paring down programs last summer.

“Our staff in the India field offices have stretched every last penny beyond what we thought possible to extend the programs for our children, while we in parallel explored alternative delivery methods to provide funds, yet a solution has not been discovered within the needed timeframe,” stated Compassion’s email to donors.

The news comes on the heels of Compassion’s largest surge of sponsorships, when students attending the 2017 Passion Conference eliminated the list of children waiting for sponsors in four countries.

Koran Reading in Glasgow Church ‘Denigrated Jesus,’ says Queen’s Chaplain

Bishop 'distressed' by row following Qur'an reading at cathedral
David Chillingworth of Scottish Episcopal Church says he regrets widespread abuse received by St Mary’s Cathedral

The Qur’an reading lead to a backlash with the cathedral saying it had received offensive messages on social media. Photograph: Alamy

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent, Guardian

The leader of the Scottish Anglican church has said he was deeply distressed at the widespread offence caused by a reading from the Qur’an at a service to mark the feast of the Epiphany at St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow.

David Chillingworth, the bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, and primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said in a statement: “We also deeply regret the widespread abuse which has been received by the cathedral community.” He has launched a review of interfaith work.

His comments followed a row over the inclusion in the service of passages from the Qur’an read in Arabic from the cathedral’s lectern by a local Muslim student. The cathedral said it was part of efforts to build relationships between Christians and Muslims in Glasgow.

The student, Madinah Javed, 19, read from the book of Maryam, which tells the story of Jesus’s birth. It includes the Islamic teaching that Jesus was not the son of God. Muslims, however, revere Jesus as a prophet.

The reading triggered a backlash. The former bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said: “Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur’an for themselves, whether in the original or in translation.

“This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in church in the context of public worship. The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation and exercise appropriate discipline for those involved.”

The church's reading from the Koran for its Epiphany service has been criticized by the Queen’s chaplain, who said the reading was inappropriate because Christians are “suffering dreadful persecution at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East.”

The cathedral said it had become the target of offensive messages on social media, which it reported to the police.

A Police Scotland spokesman said last week: “We can confirm we are investigating reports of offensive comments made towards St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow and inquiries are ongoing. Police Scotland will not tolerate any form of hate and encourages all communities to work together to ensure no one feels threatened or marginalised.”

The cathedral’s provost, Kelvin Holdsworth, defended the reading, saying similar events had “happened a number of times in the past in this and in other churches, and have led to deepening friendships locally, to greater awareness of the things we hold in common and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ”.

The statement from the bishop said the Scottish Episcopal Church had a long commitment to interfaith work. “Over many years, we have sought to develop friendship, understanding and mutual respect between our Christian faith and the other great world religions,” he said.

Chillingworth added: “Those who seek to work in the area of interfaith relationships must weigh carefully whether the choices which they make are appropriate or otherwise.

“In today’s world, those judgments must give careful consideration to good relationships which have been carefully nurtured over many years in a local context. They must also weigh carefully the way in which national and international issues shape perceptions of what is appropriate or inappropriate.

“The decisions which have led to the situation in St Mary’s Cathedral are a matter for the provost and the cathedral community, but the Scottish Episcopal Church is deeply distressed at the widespread offence which has been caused.”

Chillingworth said the church would bring together “all those who are involved in the development of interfaith relations ... to explore how, particularly in the area of worship, this work can be carried forward in ways which will command respect”.

It's curious, none of these statements contain any reference to what Jesus might think of this mess. Chillingworth and Holdsworth seem only concerned about what people might think or do and how this might damage interfaith relationships. But to read a passage from the Quran that denies the deity of Jesus from the pulpit during a 'worship' service is utter blasphemy. Who, or what were they worshiping? It certainly was not Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

What a disappointment that neither the Provost nor the Bishop seemed concerned about what God thinks. Their excessive concern for Muslims is not unlike the Police and Council of Rotherham who sacrificed 1400 girls, most of them many times over, on the altar of political correctness. 

Then there is the matter of truth. Is the Bible true? Do Chillingworth and Holdsworth actually believe what the Bible says? If they did, how can they give equal weight to the Quran when it clearly contradicts the Bible? 

Jesus came, among other things, to complete the Law so the world could live under 'grace' not under the Law. Mohammed, on the other hand, came to put the world back under the Law, and a distorted version of the Law. The point is, either the Bible is true and the Quran false, or the Quran is true and the Bible is false. You can't preach them both!

Both the Bishop and the Provost need to get on their knees and get in touch with God, or they should resign their posts and go into social work.